What else can men do to prevent domestic and sexual violence?

Monday, 5 November 2018

By Colleen Yeakle, Coordinator of Prevention Initiatives for the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence

"For decades men have participated in efforts to end domestic and sexual violence. Men have provided compassionate support to survivors of gender-based violence, and worked to prevent domestic violence in community settings and on college campuses by raising awareness and also by educating their peers about the dynamics and impact of the problem. And though such efforts have had success in increasing awareness and normalizing conversations about domestic violence, efforts to engage men as allies in violence prevention in Indiana have struggled to maintain momentum over time, and have reached a relatively small number of men. Further, because we know that awareness and information alone are not enough to change behavior, efforts to engage men with those strategies may not be effective in reducing the prevalence of domestic and sexual violence.

Because we believe that preventing gender-based violence is everyone’s responsibility, and because men are particularly well positioned to influence masculine norms and men’s behavior, we’ve asked, 'What else can men do to prevent domestic and sexual violence?'

At the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) our prevention strategies center on the idea that what surrounds us, shapes us. In alignment with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Essentials for Childhood Framework, we believe that by creating conditions where all of us feel safe, stable and nurtured, we will be successful in preventing multiple forms of violence. We pursue this strategy because we believe that these protective conditions deter both the motivation for abusive behavior and also social tolerance for those behaviors. When we conceptualize prevention as focusing on creating strong, safe, and connected communities and relationships, a vast new playground of prevention opportunities are illuminated for women and men. We seek to engage men in efforts to prevent violence by creating space for them to work to increase protective factors and to decrease risk factors in their families, peer relationships, and communities (for an excellent overview of risk and protective factors related to violence, be sure to see the Connecting the Dots publication from the CDC and Prevention Institute."

Read the full article here.

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